Minnesota’s Anti-Protest Bill Details

July 8, 2021
Barbara With

According to US Protest Law Tracker, in January 2021, Minnesota started introducing six new anti-protest bills about the same time water protector camps began forming in order to protect the water being threatened by Enbridge Line 3.

In November 2019, Wisconsin Gov. Evers signed a controversial similar bill in his state. Written by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and their labor unions, including LiUNA (Laborers International Union of North America), the bill makes false and misleading claims that the lives of the pipeline workers are at grave risk from “violent” protesters, propaganda to rationalize the unconstitutional nature of the bill as “infrastructure safety.”

Minnesota’s bills are still pending, but includes penalties for those who knowingly aid a person who trespasses on critical infrastructure property, including any organization, and those who trespass with intent “to significantly impede or inhibit operation” of a covered facility will be guilty of a felony and may be subject to three years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. 

Julie Dine Richards locked to machinery on Line 3. Photo: Johnny Danger

Meanwhile, yesterday Enbridge’s horizontal directional drilling on the Willow River hit an aquifer, sending mud and chemicals spewing into the river. The multinational foreign corporation pumping tar sands across northern Minnesota was not monitoring their work. Independent citizens, however, discovered the breech and reported it.

According to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), inserted language in Line 3’s Route permit was supposed to protect the public’s right to observe:

“contractors and assigns shall respect the rights of the public to legally exercise their Constitutional rights without interference by the Permittee unless determined to be a public safety concern. The Permittee, the Permittee’s contractors and assigns will not participate in counterinsurgency tactics or misinformation campaigns to interfere with the rights of the public to legally exercise their Constitutional rights.Line 3 Route Permit, page 26”

Water protectors continue to delay Enbridge and have no plans of letting up.

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